BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Super League (CSL) club Hebei China Fortune aims to build a world-class football training facility on par with or even better than that of global football giants, its top executives said.
Hebei China Fortune has its eyes trained on becoming a time-honored football club featuring players of various nationalities and cultural backgrounds, along with a comprehensive training system, club president Jerry Zhao told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.
"That cannot be achieved without a world-class training facility able to last for generations," Zhao said as he elaborated on the club's plan to construct a 20-hectare training base in Gu'an, a county in Hebei about 50 kilometers south of downtown Beijing.
Hebei China Fortune Football Club was promoted to the CSL in 2015, and rose rapidly in the top league after landing former Roma winger Gervinho and Argentinian international Ezequiel Lavezzi, but the injury-bound team ended in seventh place in the CSL last season.
The new training base, construction on which is expected to get underway soon, is designed to have 11 standardized football pitches and one indoor pitch, along with facilities for training, rehabilitation, and residences, said the club's manager Fu Qiang.
It will be used by the club's first team, the reserve team, and five other teams of different age levels, Fu said, adding that a designated area of the base will be open to the public.
The project is designed by Populous, a global architectural design firm that specializes in designing large sports venues.
Andrew James, Populous' senior principal who led the design work, stressed that his team will try to make the training base "as good as anywhere in the world," and even make it better than that of of Real Madrid or Manchester City.
James said the design focuses on facilitating players' off-pitch interaction, communication being something especially important for Hebei China Fortune, which has players from different cultural backgrounds.
The architect revealed that the team took advice from Manuel Pellegrini, coach of the club's first team, saying the ex-Real Madrid and Manchester City manager attached great importance to "what happens to the players immediately after they finish training," such as how they recover from injury and heavy exercise.
Known as "The Chilean Engineer," Mr. Pellegrini made a series of valuable suggestions on the design of the Gu'an base, Zhao said, adding that "his experience in designing sports infrastructure is very important to the project."
"The CSL is impacting the world, as so many great players and coaches are coming to China," James noted. "In terms of facilities, I think China could have the best of the world in five years."